Why it's okay to NOT be the breadwinner

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Ever since meeting the Hubby nearly 14 years ago I've struggled with the fact that I will never be the breadwinner of the family. Compared to the Hubby's skills, mine are pitiful and I could never earn as much as him in a 'proper' job. That's not me putting myself down, that is fact. 

The Hubby is a programmer, and right now he's a company director. The kind of money he's earned in the past, and possibly in the future, is something I could only dream of earning. I trained as a secretary - I can type, I can file, I can do admin. In a 'proper' job I'd be lucky to earn £20k per year.

Society is so focused on 'Girl Power' and making sure women get equal opportunities where jobs and pay are concerned that they're forgetting it's actually about choice.

Of course I agree that a woman and a man, both qualified and capable of doing the same job, should be paid the same. Of course I believe women should have the same opportunities as men for the top jobs. But I also think we should be allowed to choose for ourselves.

Back in the 50s the stereotypical mum was fantastic in the kitchen, had a spotless house, and had well-behaved children. She was happy to cook for her family, take care of her children and potter about the house. Nothing was ever said about her hobbies or who she really was, she was just 'mum'.



Fast forward to present day and women are "allowed" to be anything they want, they're encouraged to try for the top jobs, they're told to ask for more money. But... 

that leaves the mums who choose to stay at home feeling like they're not good enough.

Mums like you and me.

It took me a long time to accept that it's okay to NOT be the breadwinner. But you know what?

It is okay.

I used to say that I'm "lucky" enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mum but there's nothing lucky about it. My husband has worked his butt off to get us where we are and I shouldn't be diminishing his hard work by saying I'm lucky. 

If your partner works hard to earn the money they do you are not "lucky". You are entitled to the benefits of that hard work, and if that means you get to be a stay-at-home mum great!


Being there for the children


As the stay-at-home mum you're able to take care of your children as they grow into well-rounded young adults. You are the one to teach them about manners, you are the one to answer their awkward questions, you are the one who helps them when they're hit with the tortuous tween hormones.

You are there for them when they need you, be it illnesses like chicken pox or the sickness bug. You pick them up from school every day. You entertain them when there's an INSET day from school and you take them on day trips.

You are the constant in your children's lives, giving them assurance that no matter what happens you'll be there. 


In the home 


While the children are at school you have time to get the housework done. You arrive home and tackle the washing mountain (reducing it by mere centimetres), you load the dishwasher, you iron clothes.

The hoovering and polishing comes next and if you're lucky the children haven't left the lego all over the floor for you to clean up first.

You're able to chop up vegetables and meat and throw it into the slow-cooker so that your family has a yummy meal at the end of a tough day. You are the one that controls what they're eating, you can see the foods they're eating and you know if they have a healthy diet.


Time for you


With the children at school and the housework done you have time for you. This means you can learn a new skill, indulge in a hobby, or even sit and drink a hot coffee. You have time to sit and breath without the constant barrage of questions from the children. Whether you choose to use your time for hobbies, a new passion (like blogging!), or a coffee with friends, you have the time to be yourself. 

YOU become a well-rounded, relaxed person. 


All this culminates in a well-run (for the most part) household with happy (barring tween tantrums) and healthy children.



You may not earn money for the family but your role is just as important. 

You ensure the happiness of your family and no one else could do it as well as you can.

Have you struggled with not being the breadwinner?
If so I'd love to hear your story in the comments, let me know how you deal with it.

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54 comments:

  1. I think we should be able to feel happy and comfortable with our situations but sometimes that can be hard. I do all the things of a stay at home mum, minus the time for me bit but I do need to work, that is a necessity, so for me the relaxation time has to be work time for me. My mum always worked full time but never had to pay for child care as my grandmother took care of me and my brother and the house work for her, so she only had to fulfill one role. My grandmother, after having children stayed at home, so just had that role. I do feel that many women today are expected to fill every role all of the time and that can be very hard sometimes. Thanks for linking to #sharewithme

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    1. I agree that women are expected to take on many different roles these days. And no matter which role they choose they feel guilty about something. It really is such a shame that we can't shake the mummy guilt.

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  2. You make an excellent point here Morgan - we should be allowed to choose, not be made to feel guilty for not staying home and vice versa. If I had the 'choice', I would also be a SAHM but add to that the very important 'W' for working and I'd be much more 'me'!

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    1. Thanks Carol, it's definitely the guilt thing that bothers me most. SAHM's feel guilty for not being the breadwinner and Working Mums feel guilty for not being home. WAHM's feel guilty for not spending more time with children. It's all never-ending and I wish we could accept our roles as they are. :)

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  3. I think the whole point about girl power and equality is that women should be allowed to do whatever they want to do. If that's being a high flying career women then great, but equally if they'd rather be a SAHM then that's great too. I've worked since my daughter was a baby and for me and my family that's the right choice, both for money reasons and because I am just not cut out to be a SAHM. At the end of the day if a woman chooses to become a mum then the kids come first, if staying at home is better for your family you do that, if working is better then you do that.

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    1. I agree, it's really about the choice that is right for you and your family. I just wish we could rid ourselves of the guilt.

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  4. I am adjusting to not being the breadwinner but I do know how much Hubby and kids appreciate all I do. I do hope to bring a bit of money in eventually with my blog, photography and sewing after leaving my pharmacy career last December...I guess it's realising that we work long hours on a voluntary basis!!!

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    1. Exactly Jane. It's a tough adjustment to make but you may find you enjoy it far more. Either way it was your choice to make. Keep going Jane and I'm sure you'll be bringing in the moolah soon enough!

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  5. This is me! (Although the slow cooker is still unused on a shelf in the kitchen..). Very well reasoned post. Refreshing to read. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Becksie! You really should pull out that slow cooker though, it's a brilliant thing! I would highly recommend (especially for the lazy cooks!). xx

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  6. I do work and so does my husband. I work in a school as a teaching assistant so i'm around for my children when they need me. I took a big pay cut to do this but my salary was and still is nothing compared to my Husbands but i sadly do have to work. I don't mind though :) Thanks for linking up to #puddinglove

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    1. That's the main thing Rachel, if you love what you're doing then great! I think the emphasis is on the amounts that women and men earn and it really shouldn't be, if you're both earning and contributing to the household then that's great. xx

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  7. You're absolutely right that no one should feel guilty for being a SAHM, and we should all have the choice, but I think when people say they are "lucky" to be a SAHM, that is merely them saying that they acknowledge that not everyone has that option. Most families would struggle on a single income, and for many it's simply impossible, so in that sense, those with partners who earn enough to support them are a fortunate minority. Of course they are absolutely entitled to that choice and shouldn't feel that they have to be the breadwinner, but what concerns me is that relatively few women are, not because they don't want to be, but because there is still a significant gender pay gap.

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    1. Thanks Min. I totally agree about the gender pay gap, it is frustrating that there are still women who aren't paid the same as their male counterparts.

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  8. I have only been a SAHM for 7 months but I feel so relieved that we were in a financial position to allow that to happen as it has meant a much more relaxed and happy home life than it would have been if I had been working as a teacher, my former career, which is exceptionally demanding, exhausting and stressful at the best of times, let alone having your own child to raise and look after too. You are right though we have worked really hard and made sensible financial decisions over the past 10 years to allow ourselves to be in this position. Sometimes I feel guilty when speaking to a couple of friends, but most of the time I don't as I believe that we have made the best decision for our family. I have a friend who is a female breadwinner and their plan was for her to go back to work full time and for her husband to go part time. Since they decided this, however, he seems to have changed his mind having spoken to colleagues and friends and come up against pressure to remain at work. What a shame! #PoCoLo

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    1. That is a shame! I often end up feeling guilty or keep quiet about being a SAHM when I'm in the company of people who can't do that (for whatever reason). I hate that I can't be open and honest about the fact that I love being a SAHM and the Hubby and I made the right decisions when it came around. Being able to be financially free to make those choices is great, but that guilt never goes away, and I think it's about time it did!

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  9. Great post Morgan. I was working full time when my 4 children were younger but I hated not being there for my kids. My husband and I swapped over again and he earns more that I did. I have loved being a stay at home mum over the years. Now my youngest is 11 I would love to find something part time that eventually would be more hours as the kids get older :) Thanks for linking up

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    1. Thanks Claire. I love being a SAHM to the older kids, my youngest is still just 7 but I can see a time when I won't have to take him to school or pick him up and am looking forward to it. I love being able to spend time doing things I love to do. :)

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  10. I have struggled to come to terms with not being the breadwinner since Bo was born. Like you, I trained to be an admin and my husband is a programmer too! When Bo was a few months old I found myself looking for ways to make money and bring money into the house because I felt that me being at home was not enough. However, I am now accepting that me being at home is what we, as a family, want and that the work I do at home is just as valuable as the work my husband does. It still takes a bit of repeating this to myself though ;-) #PoCoLo

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    1. Haha, how about that! I've often struggled with the fact that I didn't bring money into the home. It was always an issue and I hated myself for it. You have to take that step yourself and "allow" yourself to accept your Hubby brings the money in and you contribute in other ways. I know what you mean about repeating it to yourself though, I still struggle sometimes. xxx

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  11. This is such a great post Morgan - thank you!! So well written as always. Yes, I have TOTALLY struggled with this! Especially as I earned slightly more than my husband before I stopped working. It is so hard to accept sometimes. And some days I feel extremely 'lucky' as you say, but other days I struggle as I am not a natural home-maker. I have always preferred to have my head in the books studying or working than being practical so then I feel I am not really being beneficial to anyone. I feel my husband still has to do a lot around the home. So actually, what do I achieve?! But then I sit and make myself look at all I do do. It's tough though. Thank you for hosting and for raising an important issue. #PoCoLo

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    1. Oh Rebecca, this is exactly why I wrote this post. It is so easy to sit down and wonder what you achieve and you can beat yourself up about the fact that you're not bringing in money. I know, I've done it for SO long. It's tough to take that mental step and accept it but once you do it's easier and you end up being happier. I know what you mean about having your head in the books though, I do that too - although it's more with the blogging! xxx

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  12. I love the photos! Choice is the keyword for me - the battle was for the right to choose, after all!

    We're kind of in the opposite scenario because I'm in work and my partner isn't. It's awkward because I only work part time (riches at £13k!), and we assumed I would do the bulk of the childcare while he was in work full time. Then he lost his job and has been out of work nearly 18 months... I try not to complain because the situation is what it is, but I do find it a struggle between wanting to be at home with Marianna some days, and feeling guilty for not taking on an extra job / quitting for something full time so we'd have more money. x #Pocolo

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    1. Thanks Jess - I do love my lego! ;)

      The guilt is always the thing we come back to isn't it? We feel guilty for not doing something, or we feel guilty for being able to do something. Why do we do it to ourselves? I'm sorry your partner lost his job, I hope you find something that works well for you and makes you all happy. xxx

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  13. A very brave, honest and well-put post. You do have a point - in today's competitive times, often Stay-at-Home-Mums are looked upon as being nothing more than 'mum', but that, in reality, is THE HARDEST and MOST IMPORTANT job of them all!

    If one is lucky enough to have that choice and chooses to be home around her children, there is NOTHING wrong with that. However, if mums choos to go back to work and find happiness in it, there is nothing wrong with that either. As long as the choices are made for the right reasons.
    #sharewithme

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    1. Thank you Nicole. I hate that people see SAHM's as just "mum", it drives me potty! It IS all about that choice and no one should feel like it's the wrong choice for them. xx

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  14. 3 months in and no pay cheque to my stay at home adventures. I'm in the same scenario, give me an admin job and I can do it but it's not going to earn the income our houshold in, my partner is a plumber. He works hard and I worry about him working so hard that I feel I want to earn some money some how to help. He'll always earn more, I accept that. For the next year though I'll let him breadwin and I can concentrate on our son! #pocolo

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    1. Good for you Karen! It's difficult to "allow" yourself to be a SAHM and accept that you're not earning money. I'm sure you'll love the next year! xx

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  15. It's the opposite situation in our house right now - I'm the breadwinner and my husband has taken on more of the childcare duties, though she still attends nursery a few days a week. When I was on maternity leave, though, I never felt like I was less important because I wasn't earning money. Raising a baby is WORK, and my husband was totally appreciative of that. It was harder than my job as a digital content designer by miles. #PoCoLo

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    1. I'd love to hear what your husband thinks about your situation. I don't know many SAHD's and I wonder if the pressure is worse for them? It's great that you never felt that, glad you've been able to make a choice that works for you. xx

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  16. Oh I love your post, that is me! I love bring a stay st home mum, my children are grown up now,but still at home. (Must be making them too comfy lol) I was there for every eventuality. I'm proud of the adults they've become and often say I did that - obvs with the help of my husband. X oh to do it again 💕 look forward to more reading from you. Please take a look at my blog. Www.mummabstylish.com

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    1. Thanks so much Jacqui. This is my job now and I plan for it to be for a long time to come. I don't want to have to go out to work and love what I do. Thank you so much for your kind words, I'm so glad to hear from someone who has loved it! :)
      I'll stop by your blog to take a look. xx

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  17. I just wish with all my heart I could be a SAHM - but its not an option for us. But if it was I would certainly take it and I wouldn't feel bad for it! Bringing up kids is the hardest job in the world in my opinion #puddinglove

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    1. No you shouldn't feel bad for your choices, and you shouldn't feel bad for having to work either. xx

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  18. This is wonderful and I can totally relate to this - I often call myself lucky that I am a SAHM because of my hubbie's job, but you're right, there's nothing lucky about it. I know that he appreciates what I do, as well as I think it's amazing how many hours he's putting in as well. I have to say that I do struggle with not earning my own money but slowly getting used to it :-) Thanks for hosting #pocolo xx

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    1. Thanks Bridie, it is tough accepting that you don't earn the money. It took me a really long time. I used to hate doing the shopping because I saw it as me spending the Hubby's money. In the end though all the money you or your partner bring in is contributed to the household and it is your money together. I'm so glad you're able to be a SAHM. xx

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  19. Hi Morgan, I've never felt bad about being the bread winner, when we decided to start a family (something I never thought I would do!), we decided that I would stop work (we had a bar at the time, so I still popped in to see people with the children, I just didn't work). To me, being there to help my children grow into well balanced individuals and bringing them in the manner I wanted was far more important to me (we only get one crack at it!).

    I must admit though, that now they are older (19 & 16) I wouldn't mind being a breadwinner, but it's not easy having a child on the autistic spectrum, so for now I have to put my sons needs over mine.

    ...Oh and I in all these years I don't thinks I've ever been on top of the house work! It's a battle not worth fighting!

    xx

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    1. Thanks Debbie, it's always great to hear from SAHM's of older children. LP is 7 years old and I can see a time when I won't have to pick him up from school and I'm looking forward to it. I love being here for my boys and will be for as long as is possible. :)
      Thanks so much for the house work thing too - I feel much better! ;)

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  20. This is a brilliant post, and so true.
    I've been made to feel, in the past, that my job is much less important, much easier and more relaxing. Days full of relaxing on the sofa, and napping. With 2 under 2, I rarely sit down!!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it Sarah. I never had 2 under 2, but I can imagine it being rather hectic! I hope you do manage to get a little sit down occasionally. xx

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  21. Great post.

    The same way some SAHMs feel judged, so do us working mums. I felt a lot of guilt on returning after my 2nd maternity leave, as though I was doing the wrong thing, or letting my children down...

    But you know...I feel that I am there for my children, I still am in charge of everything they eat, I just did the ironing when I got home and made dinner. If they're very ill, I would stay at home. I'm still very much the constant in their lives.

    Ok, I won't be able to pick them up from school (I don't think my patients would appreciate me leaving mid-afternoon surgery!), I can't take them on day trips more than once a week and I don't ever have any me-time or that coffee to myself during the day...but, as you say, we have the freedom to make that choice and ultimately a happy mum=happy children!

    #KCACOLS

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    1. Thank you hun. I think it's a shame that we all feel judged in some way, and that's down to certain individuals and the media. There's always something we should feel guilty about isn't there?

      I agree that a happy mum = happy children, the freedom to make our own choices, free of guilt, is so important. xx

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  22. I think parents on either side of the coin beat themselves up for one reason or another. I think as long as everyone is contributing to the family in their own way what does it matter who's bringing in the cash?

    #fartglitter

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  23. I strongly believe that SAHMs are equally important as working mums and dare I say it, women without children. All mums it seems feel judged, but so do those of us without children and I believe some of it (not all) is pressure we put on ourselves to conform to well, goodness knows what. Before I took redundancy I earned a higher salary than MOH and while I don't think it bothered him, nor did he think it wrong or I suspect beat himself up about it. And nor should we, whatever our status #PoCoLo xx

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    1. I agree, there's so much pressure from ourselves and media to conform to whatever is in vogue at that moment. Sometimes it's SAHMs, sometimes working mums, sometimes those without children. Our choices are so personal that it's such a shame we all feel judged all the time. xx

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  24. I agree, the important thing is that women can now (circumstances dependant) have the choice of what they want to do. I'm a work at home mum so I feel like I have the best of both worlds, but then I do still need help with the kids and cleaning because I do work too xx #PoCoLo

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    1. I think we all need help with the cleaning! Haha. Thanks so much Hannah. x

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  25. I can totally agree and relate! I'm so glad women have a choice and can choose for themselves whether to stay home or work.

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  26. I think it just simply shouldn't matter. What works for one might not work for the other. We both work full time because we have to - neither one of us has worked our butts off although the other half earns a lot more now than he did when we got together. Which mean if he does keep that salary, I will hopefully not have to go back to full time work after my maternity leave. He is doing everything he can to make that happen and for that, I am incredibly proud of him. There was a stage where I earnt more than him, it didn't last long and I didn't care. Once Zach came along, earning money was simply to survive and if I end up earning 15k less than I do now, then so be it. I would rather be around more for my boys. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. I totally agree. Whatever your choices, as long as it works for your family what does it matter. xx

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  27. THIS! THIS! and THIS again!
    Choice, that is what it should be about. In my dream future I get to be a SAHM because that is what I've always wanted. I just don't have the drive to be the breadwinner, it's not what I want from life. And that should be OK. No one should be looked down on for not choosing the 'right' career/lifestyle/etc.
    This is such an important post and I'm so glad you wrote it.

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    1. Thanks so much Olivia! I'm so glad you liked it and you're so right too. It IS all about choice. :) xx

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